Enough oil for decades with new exploration tech, BP says

3 November 2015
By Tereza Pultarova
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Advances in exploration and technology development will double available global oil and gas resources by 2050

Advances in exploration and technology development will double available global oil and gas resources by 2050

Advances in oil and gas exploration technology have ensured the world is no longer at risk of running out of resources, BP said on Monday. 

Thanks to investment into supercomputers, robotics and the use of chemicals to extract the maximum from available reservoirs, the accessible oil and gas reserves will almost double by 2050.

Together with the development of renewable resources and nuclear power, the world will thus have more than 20 times the amount of energy it needs to cover its consumption despite growing demand.

"Energy resources are plentiful. Concerns over running out of oil and gas have disappeared," said David Eyton, BP Group Head of Technology at the launch of BP's inaugural Technology Outlook.

"We are probably nearing the point where potential from additional recovery from discovered reservoirs exceeds the potential for exploration."

With the use of the innovative technologies, available fossil fuel resources could increase from the current 2.9 trillion barrels of oil equivalent to 4.8 trillion by 2050, which is almost twice as much as the projected global demand.

Further advances in exploration and technology could help the resources soar up to 7.5 trillion barrels of oil or equivalent.

However, with the global move towards renewables and the introduction of policies designed to wean the world off fossil fuels, oil and gas may lose its competitive advantage, leaving the resources unexplored.

"A price on carbon would advantage certain resources," Eyton said. "Ultimately, national and international policies will determine how much of and which resources will be produced.”

In North America, a price of $40 per tonne of carbon would make gas turbine power plants more cost-effective than coal, BP said. However, an $80 per tonne price on carbon would make onshore wind technology competitive with gas-fired power and would also make carbon capture and sequestration with gas-fired power economic.

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